Archived Reviews: # A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Reviews Index

FORGOTTEN TALES: "The promise" 6

Review by 16 April 2002

Not another power metal band! But hey, this one’s from Canada! Cool. And they don’t even have a male warrior on their cover, but a long, redhaired female with a sword who’s walking a “dog”. And that’s not all. This band has another surprise for you. They’ve got a female singer, DANG! Good for them or not? Fear, all you men out there!

The way I review cds is that first I take a listen to them and then run through band info, etc. But on this cd I got to the second song “Cold Heart” (if you don’t count the intro) and just had to take a peak at who’s the singer ‘cos “he” sounded so weird, which made me doubt that he must be a “she”. Yep, the singer is (also a redhair) Sonia Pineault. She’s a powerful singer, but she could’ve done her parts a bit differently here and there, ‘cos she often sounds like she’s singing another tune. And her pronounciation needs a bit of work. Also she’s quite monotonic so listening to her longer gets boring. She should’ve brought more life/rage/power to her singing. But a nice idea to have a female singer and I hope all the best for her.

The music itself also needs more work, I got a kinda unaffected feeling from it. “Far Away” has a nice chorus and “Gates Beyond Reality” has the best touch and gets closest to power metal, as it has the background singing I was longing for on this whole album. Also this album would've needed more theatrical and dramatical influences to make it work better. I’m sure this bunch can do better, but this one just didn’t work too well for me. Let’s hope to hear more of this band from Canada.


Jack FOSTER: "Jazzraptor" 5

Muse-Wrapped Records 2003

Review by Endre "Bandi" Hübner,
15 February 2004

Jazzraptor is Jack Foster's rather interesting collaboration with a few musicians and Melanie Myers, a girl who's writing poems and whom Jack had never met but only corresponded with in emails. Musically the album is somewhere between progressive rock and free jazz. Read: there are far too many themes squeezed in the songs to make any of them memorable. That is quite a shame because the musicians are really good, the ideas alone are rather interesting and well-performed, and the production of the whole album is really good, the mix is balanced, and all the instruments sound as they should sound. Yet, in the name of "artistry" Jack filled all the songs with countless theme- and tempo-changes, weird instruments here and there and with some sound effects to spice the whole thing up a bit.

"Bohemian Soul" opens the album and with its seven and a half minutes length it sets the pace for the album and showcases what to expect all along. The first part is really enjoyable, a cool solo with a great guitar sound and a very thick arrangement. Till the first refrain the song is really promising, a mid-tempo progressive rock track but later on a bunch of new themes arrive making the song rather chaotic. "Cat's Got Nine" also starts out very promising, it's a cool acoustic stomper but towards the end it is turned into some ethnic folk music with fiddles making the song lose its grip. "Feel It When I Sting" was the first song that I could enjoy from the beginning till the end. It's a mid-tempo progressive rocker with great lyrics and a thick arrangement with multiple layers of guitars and several keyboard sounds. All the rest of the songs have something to listen to, they are all interesting, and the music always hides something new to discover as far as the arrangement goes. Yet the whole thing is more like an experience, pushing the boundaries of artistry than an album to listen to from the beginning to the end. The songs tend to get overwhelming, and due to Jack's limited vocal range the lyrics that were interesting as poems, are not turned into memorable vocal melodies.

After listening to the album one can't help having the feeling you have when coming out of an alternative theater performance. It was interesting to see/hear once but so much was enough of it and you wouldn't go back to see/hear it once more. As soon as Jack learns to keep his creativity under control and manages to fill a whole album with songs like "Tiger Bone Wine" and "Every Time You Smile" we'll have something to look for.

Jaye FOUCHER: "Contagious Grooves" 8

Fuism Records 2000

Review by 01-04-15

The Queen of Instrumental Guitar rock is back with her second CD! Yes JAYE FOUCHER´S new album CONTAGIOUS GROOVES really proves that she´s next for a fight with JENNIFER BATTEN about the Championship title: "Best Female Guitarist in the World". But it´s not really fair to say that she´s a good "female" guitarist! Hell no... male, female, alien... who cares? JAYE is a great "bender" and she wipes the floor with most of ALL the guitar players and wannabe's (like myself) out there.

This is a CD filled with contagious grooves, power riffs, flashy solos and nasty moves. You can hear both PROGRESSIVE, Melodic and Funky Hardrock mixed together in a nice blender with a hint of Jazz, Cold Beer, and endless summer nights! Ehhh... or any other cold drink that you prefer :-)

Opening track "WHAT COMES AROUND" begins with some cool VAN HALEN keyboards before "Miss Contagious" herself gets into the action with some really great PROG-Licks. The chorus melody is really catchy and you´ll remember it at once. "ZOMBIELAND" is another great PROG song with a lovely melody and a killer riff. JAYE plays a 7 string Jackson and you can really feel the power of that 7th string as the sound gets really "Fat & Mean". Another superb song is the mellow ballad "MY OWN ABYSS" with both electric & acoustic guitars and a really beautiful lead guitar. "TRANSITION" is a funky song with some really cool work by bassist JOHN VITTORI and drummer MATT SCURFIELD! Hey... the guitar work is not bad either... in fact it rocks! So... if you like Instrumental Guitar rock or if you´re a guitar player make sure to check out JAYE at Listen to some songs and buy the CD. More facts?? Well... she started out taking private guitar lessons from another guitar virtuoso GARY HOEY! This Girl Rocks!

FRAMESHIFT: "Unweaving The Rainbow" 9

Frontiers 2004
Review by Satu Reunanen, 5 April 2004

This year surely treats the Dream Theater and prog fans well, it hasn’t even been long since the last release of DT album, when Chain mastermind Henning Pauly comes with an album written for DT vocalist James LaBrie and me just reviewing another album also featuring LaBrie. Another important guest in Frameshift is Nik Guadagnoli, who plays the Chapman Stick, Pauly himself Warr guitar. ”Unweaving” deals with different evolutionary concepts and the work perfectly follows the theme. The mood is very massive, reaching that film music pompousness, leaving you in awe. This is certainly one of LaBrie’s best works, as he proves in ”La Mer”. Eventhough the album is very entertaining, pop and very light sounding, you can’t go wrong with it if you’re open to almost any genre of music and want sense in the lyrics. One of Pauly’s goals for this album was to combine the elements of progressive rock, film scoring and very modern production and he can be proud of himself, he’s reached them all.

Frameshift goes further than average progressive rock. The music mixes different styles and some of those styles aren’t usually heard in prog. Frameshift’s disco, techno, funky, poppy, ambient, even ethnic experience definately raises a lot of emotion and when digging deeper to the theme, even questions. The orchestrations are great, they’re quite massive and the vocal harmonies also, having even as many tracks as 35 and moving to the steps of Gentle Giant, Queen, Spock’s Beard, Marillion, even Yes. If these bands ever touched you, Frameshift will do it too. It sounds like a massive rock opera and succeeds well where many have failed lately. Even in being an entertaining album, it doesn’t fall in the boring radio play category. It’s still relaxing, but requires your full attention to keep in track.

The album is inspired by the books of Richard Dawkins, one of today's most influential neo-Darwinist writers. ”La Mer” gives goosebumbs with its mixture of classical and rock atmosphere and chillingly warm vocals and the happily rocking, light and funky ”Off The Ground” was another tune which stood out the best from here. Songlist: ”Above The Grass - Part I”, ”The Gene Machine”, ”Spiders”, ”River Out Of Eden”, ”Message From The Mountain”, ”Your Eyes”, ”La Mer”, ”Nice Guys Finish First”, ”Arms Races”, ”Origins And Miracles”, ”Off The Ground”, ”Walking Through Genetic Space”, ”Cultural Genetics”, ”Bats”, ”Above The Grass - Part II”.

This album will leave a mark on you. And even put a smile on your face, one of those moments being the album concluding thought: ”If you try and take a cat apart to see how it works, the first thing you have on your hands is a non-working cat”.

Read more about the songs from

FRANKENSHRED: "Evil Shred" 3

Frankenshred Productions 1999

Review by Endre “Bandi” Hübner 01-03-16

Being an instrumental guitar freak I was looking forward to hearing this one with great interest. My interest was intensified by reading in the promo material that the band opened up for Tony MacAlpine and Lynch Mob among others. So I was expecting something like that. Well, I didn't get that and I'm still very uncertain what to say about these three guys.

My assumption is that they are very young. It would be hard to explain why I feel like this because one can hear that - technically - they are grown up musicians, rip as hell, they are very fast, tight, and seem to know what they are doing. However I still feel that something is missing, mostly because they run through all the songs (?), playing through dozens of riffs, showing off with extremely fast arpeggios and scales but at the same time they forget about the SONGS themselves.

By the time I got to the third track of the CD my head was full of "noises" and I couldn't remember any melodies or riffs. I've already given the disc several spins and the result is never different. At the moment of listening to a lick, to a scale, or to a drum solo, bass scale, whatever part of the album it is enjoyable (for a musician at least) but ten seconds later you can't remember anything of it. Same empty feeling after finishing with listening to the album. I wish these guys listened to a bit more MacAlpine in the future (not that he was that essential) and opened their perspective by giving lots spins to Satriani, Vai, Tamas discs, even Stevie Ray Vaughn, Van Halen and some other not only instrumental guitarist. This would probably help a lot especially if Frankenshred could incorporate some of these guitarists' more ENTERTAINING approach into their own style/music. These guy can be one of the greatest promises of the instrumental guitar world but only if they manage to rise above technicalities and are able to get more entertaining for the ears of the public too.

Fergie FREDERIKSEN: "Equilibrium" 8

MTM Music 1999
Review by Kimmo Toivonen

This is the first solo album from the former Toto vocalist, and if you liked his work on "Isolation", you should be pleased with "Equilibrium" too. Mr. Frederiksen has gathered a very impressive list of musicians around him, and the results are quite impressive just as well. This album is a worthy addition to any AOR collection, especially if there are a couple of Toto albums in there already.

The core of the band consists of drummer Ron Wikso (Foreigner, The Storm), bassist/producer Ricky Phillips (Bad English) and Bruce Gowdy (Unruly Child), who plays most of the guitars and keys. As if that wasn't enough, the guest list includes such names as Neal Schon (Journey), Steve Porcaro (Toto) and Jason Scheff (Chicago)!

A very good remake of Starship's "Blaze Of Love" opens the album, and I am instantly impressed by the quality of the production. The song actually sounds better than the original version. Next up there's "Mata Hari", a track that didn't appeal to me right away, but after a few spins the chorus did its work, and now I am hooked...

The title song is one of the two songs co-written by Jim Peterik (Survivor), and what a song it is! Great athmospheric keyboard and guitar layers and a brilliant chorus á la Toto's "Isolation". "All For Love" is probably my favourite song here, a very Totoesque AOR ballad.

"Best I Can Be" is the only song I don't like here, a poppy westcoast tune. Thankfully the next song "Crazy" is much better, another balladic song very much in the Chicago vein. Fergie even sounds a bit like Peter Cetera on it! "Tell Me Diana" is again totally Totoesque, not one of my favourites but an OK tune anyway. The same goes for the next three songs, of which one is the other Peterik-tune "The Truth Is Good Enough". It is a very Survivor-like ballad with Fergie sounding a lot like Jimi Jamison! The song itself could have used a better chorus. The grand finale of the album is the brilliant "Language Of Love", which also sounds curiously like Survivor, even though it isn't co-written by Peterik...

FREE SPIRIT: "Easy Days" 6

Carpel 2000

Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom 01-03-16

Finland strikes once again? Here´s another band from our neighbors in the East. FREE SPIRIT was founded in late 1992 and has recorded a bunch of demos ever since. They like to call their music for "Desert Sound" as it has much to do with "Back to Nature" The Great Wilderness, if you like: The Shaman in us all. New Age, huh? Well... beats me... I do know that they play some pretty cool stuff.

Influences are Led Zeppelin, Uriah Heep, The Doors, Metallica, Cult, Pink Floyd and they do sound a lot like early THE CULT, some LED ZEPPELIN but also like good old Melodic Hardrock/AOR. This promo disc has the video of "Cry of an Eagle" included a video that actually have been accepted by US nation wide channel IMNTV and has been in daily rotation for a couple of weeks over there.

The song itself is a nice rocker a-la The CULT mixed with some AOR and maybe even a bit of the old Finnish rockers (and heroes) HANOI ROCKS, pretty cool chorus. "Easy days" shows their LED ZEPPELIN influences in the verses while the chorus is more groovy and pretty rad. "Pale sister of light" is a more straight ahead Melodic Hardrock song with a nice chorus. Last but not least the superb "Strangers of love" a mid tempo AOR/Melodic Hardrock song with a catchy chorus. Check ´em out at: or E-mail:

FREE SPIRIT: "Shadow Of A Man"

Indie 2004
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
24 May 2004

Back to nature, back to basics, back to haunt us with some golden oldies??? Indeed, Finland's Free Spirit returns with a "new" 4-track demo, with at least one old favorite from the past. Opening track "Pale Sister Of Light", was already included on their demos back in the 90's. I actually wrote about it back in my "Catchy Hooks" days (my first internet zine).

Here they are in 2004 and still promoting the crap out of "that" track. I'm not sure if it's good or bad thing really. They should have been able to come up with some new material by now? I quite like it though, it still has that moody vibe of early The Cult, over it. "Heroes Don't Cry" is a dramatic semi-ballad with an interesting bone structure. Built upon the difference between light and shadow, this tune ends up somewhere between folk-lore and nature rock. A winner in my book. The last two tracks are rather pale in my opinion, without being crap for that matter. Nothing that really grabs your attention though and the sound quality differs a lot. Check our archive for previous reviews and you can email the band at:

FREEDOM CALL: "Live Invasion" 7

SPV 2004
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
17 May 2004

"Live Invasion" is recorded like a metal diary of the success of their previous three studio albums: Stairway to Fairyland (1999), Crystal Empire (2000) and Eternity (2002). Not to mention successful tours with Hammerfall, Virgin Steele, Angra, Stratovarius, Blind Guardian, etc. Indeed, the Nuremberg quartet do play similar music to all above and especially their 'typical' German influences, shines through a lot.

This is a 2-CD set for the price of one, where disc #1 are 13 tracks live. Freedom Call are mostly going through their well-known material without trying anything new or too advanced. "We Are One", "Freedom Call", The Quest", "Heart Of The Rainbow", "The Eyes Of The World", etc, are all clean of sudden surprises or hick-ups. They sound no different from their studio versions and it's all too sterile in my opinion. Live performances isn't (only) about trying to be as perfect as possible, you need a bit of soul and that feeling of 'anything goes' too. Don't get me wrong, this is fine music by fine musicians, but it could as easily have been performed by machines or robots for that matter [:-)].

Disc #2 includes the EP "Taragon", which was previously only released in Japan and France. I tell you, "Warriors Of Light" is a great Power Metal anthem if anything. That typical sing-a-long refrain and massive double-bass drumming in true Helloween tradition. Speaking of Helloween, you can find a cover of their "Dr.Stein" song here. There's also a smashing cover of Ultravox "Dancing With Tears In My Eyes" to be found. A simply magical 80's pop song which they've managed to do justice somehow. I still prefer the original though, but the boys done good for sure. Last but not least, a cover of "Hiroshima", which Wishful Thinking originally did. Bottomline, a solid 2-CD set with cleanical performed live music.

FREEWHEELER: "3-Track Demo"

Review by 19 October 2002

How 'bout some kick ass rock'n'roll for the 21th century, with a fresh approach and sound. Freewheeler was formed last year in the northern parts of London/UK and have already managed to get themselves a good reputation over there. Not that strange really as this 3-track demo is very professionally done with some good, foot-stomping music.

This demo is produced & engineered by Doug Hall (Iron Maiden, Testament, Wasp) and they've also worked with producer Kit Woolven (Magnum, Thin Lizzy, Cradle Of Filth etc.). It's like they've mixed rock from the 70's (The Faces, Rod Stewart, Kiss) with the 80's Glam approach of Poison and retro bands like Black Crowes or Quireboys. In other words, it's upbeat, feel good, sing-a-long songs with lots of attitude and 3 chords. Vocalist Seb is a natural born frontman and the rest of the band (Pete - guitars, Sophie - bass, Russ -drums) are all top class musicians. Make sure to check out this band as I'm sure we'll hear a lot more from them in the near future. They maybe need to work a little bit more on their material, but it's a good start anyway.

Randy FRICKE: "Randy Fricke"

Indie 2000

Review by

RANDY FRICKE is a multi-talented musician from Wisconsin/USA who released his first solo album last year. The ex.SILENT SCREAM member has done everything on this CD! All songs are written, performed and produced by the man... and what do we get? A really nice Hardrock album with influences from bands such as KISS, DAVID LEE ROTH mixed with a bunch of sleaze rock.

His guitar play is really great and it sounds like he's been inspired by heroes like RANDY RHOADES & ACE FREHLEY. But unfortunately I think that there´s a bunch of fillers on this CD, but also a couple of really good rockers.

Opener "We´re All In The Game" may be the best of them all! It´s over 6 minutes long and full with great guitar work, riffs and a cool solo. The chorus is really catchy and reminds me of early Lynch Mob. "I See You You See Me" is a song that could have been on any of the early albums with DAVID LEE ROTH. In fact FRICKE has a voice that sounds a little bit like 'Diamond Dave'. Next track "Payin For Paradise" starts with a cool 'Sleaze' guitar intro! It's an uptempo KISS/POISON rocker with a nice chorus. "Can´t Stop Thinking Of You" is a good ballad that kinda sounds like Fricke's answer to the Alice Cooper classic "Only Women Bleed"; really nice! So find out more about him at Hey! Maybe YOU wanna join his touring act???


Z Records 2002

Review by 02-02-06

"I'm Back, Better Than Before" - Indeed, power vocalist Steve Grimmett (ex. Lionsheart, Onslaught, Grim Reaper) has once again returned to the hardrock scene. This time with guitarist Nick Burr (ex. Lionsheart, Killers) and bassist Gavin Cooper (ex. Killers) by his side.

Grimmett, not only famous for his leather pants, started out in the early 80's with Grim Reaper. A heavy metal act who recorded three very underrated albums, before he teamed up with thrash outfit Onslaught. Lionsheart in the 90's became more Whitesnake with balls, while Friction is yet another step back to 'basic' hardrock. There's a lot of early, British rock from the 70's to be found here.

All songs are written by Burr/Cooper and the two of them are really Friction, with Grimmett as the voice only. To say that Burr/Cooper are major Free, Bad Company, Paul Rodgers fans would be no overstatement, since you can find a lot of influences of the above here. You can also find similarities to the band Thunder, especially on tracks like "Blue Collar Fever" or "Little Miss Predictable". Not that strange either, since Thunder borrowed pretty much everything from the above mentioned band(s). Opener "I'm Back" is a great rock anthem while closing track "Miss You" show some Beatles influences. "Misery" are one of those ballads, with a big goosebumps warning sign written all over it! Marvelous performance by Grimmett. On the other hand, the Sweet cover "Action" sounds very dull! I'm not sure why, but Grimmett's performance is suddenly very weak here. It's even worse than Def Leppard's version of the song, and that kinda says it all. However, the big mistake here in my opinion, is the use of computer programmed drums. How the heck are you supposed to deliver a steady groove, with those 'ping-pong' drums? You simply can't play 70's rock with a machine. I would love to see them live with a real drummer though, since the song material is overall really good with only a couple of fillers.

Marty FRIEDMAN: "Scenes"

Shrapnel 1992
Review by

Marty Friedman must be known to most of you as the ex-guitarist of Megadeth, however his instrumental solo albums were nothing like that, rather in the vein of Tony MacAlpine's speeding-scaling style. But this one is a lot different from that and it makes the album a lot more entertaining. When talking about this album, it is essential that partially it was produced by Kitaro. Some might ask right away: Who??? Kitaro is Japan' s Vangelis, a synthesizer wizard, known for great sounds, and extraordinary arrangements. His touch is obvious on the album and the melting of Friedman's virtuoso guitar playing and Kitaro's arrangements give a wonderful, moody, and very entertaining mix.

There aren't any kick-ass speed metal anthems here; most of the songs are very mellow, ballad like tunes filled with Eastern sounding scales and crystal clear guitar sound. Some of the tracks do not even have any drums for minutes long, just keyboards and guitars. My favorite tracks are the opening "Tibet", that has the feeling expressed in the title, "Night", an almost acoustic sounding guitar piece with only a synth pad companion for the most of the song, and "West", one with a similar arrangement. But the rest of the album is very enjoyable too, a very pleasant surprise if you got tired of guitar virtuoso-wannabes, who believe "the more notes you can play in a second the better you are."

MARTY FRIEDMAN: "Music For Speeding" 9

Mascot Records 2003
Review by 19 February 2003

I never really understood why Marty Friedman joined the metalband Megadeth in the first place, as he had just made three superrecords, namely "Dragon's Kiss"(1988),"Speed Metal Symphony"(1987)and "Go Off"(1989); the last two albums under the bandname Cacophony (with Jason becker).So why not pursue a solo-career any further? That is something that only Marty can account for; okay, with Megadeth they made two excellent cds - "Rust In Peace"(1990)and the bestseller "Youthanasia"(1994)- but Friedman's guitarplaying was not of the high standard that he displayed on his solo-albums.

Three years ago (January 2000) Marty left Megadeth and since then he has been working very hard on all kinds of solo-projects, like e.g. with his new band Red Dye#2. "Music For Speeding" consists of 13 instrumental guitardriven songs and I have to say that this is Marty at his best again. If you like his older heavy stuff from "Dragon's Kiss" or the Cacophony-albums, then you will really enjoy tracks like: "Gimme A Dose", "Ripped"(fast,faster,fastest!!), "Nastymachine" or "Catfight"(with some very heavy riffs). "Fuel Injection Stingray" and "Salt In The Wound" remind me of another famous guitarplayer called Paul Gilbert, and "Cheer Girl Rampage" has some David T.Chastain-influences.

But for me Marty is at his best when he plays laidback ballads like "Lust For Life", a marvellous spacy guitarsolo reminds me of his best solo-album "Scenes" (1992). "Lovesorrow" contains some orchestral sounds and "Corazon De Santiago" is again a typical,oriental Friedman-ballad. Songs like these give me gooseflesh all over and show that Marty Friedman belongs to the top-five guitarplayers of the world. What else can I tell you about this album,just the one thing: buy or die!! "Music For Speeding" is an essential album for all you guitarlovers out there,but be warned if you try Marty's guitarplaying at home; you will become frustrated....

FRIKTION: "Friktion"

Indie 2001

Review by Nick Baldrian 01-06-12

This is not the band who go by the same name who recently signed to Z Records. This Friktion are from South Dakota and play pop/rock with modern and old influences combined. The CD kicks off in a big way with an absoloute corking rock song called 'Nameless' which is a deadringer for Bon Jovi, Firehouse and John Taglieri, the hooks are massive and the chorus is a great one to singalong with at the top of your voice.

The next song is slightly weaker, it's called 'Yesterday's' and heads in the direction of newer bands like Mars Electric and Matchbox 20. The hooks are still strong and the band are very confident in what they are doing. What makes this album an enjoyable one for fans of both Bon Jovi, Firehouse and Mars Electric and Matchbox 20 is singer Sander Morehead whose voice is very much like Jon Bon Jovi and CJ Snare from Firehouse.

Check out the next track 'Inside' which hits the barrier between the new breed of melodic rock and classic arena rock and is a joyous fun track which just slams and also reminds me of Anatomic, Love/Hate and even Pearl Jam, and that's what I like about Friktion they have so many different influences running through them that it's hard to say which drection the band actually want to go in, but what they have succefully done is make arecord that should appeal to anyone who loves anything from The Counting Crows and Cry Of Love to Bon Jovi and Firehouse. For instance 'Star Crossed Lover Of Friction' is in the Cry Of Love vein and is incredibly catchy, whilst 'What's Going On' and 'I'm Your Man' has a retro vibe, then the band makes another twist on 'Problem Child' which has a Def Leppard vibe mixed with the modern appraoch and is a great song. We get back to the stadium rock roots with the excellent 'The Fool' and the guitar fuelled catchy 'Right By Your Side', whilst 'The River' is similar to what Vaughn did on their last album and is a great earthy song. The band try their hand at a ballad on 'Requiem' which is in the Counting Crows vein, and the last song 'Better Song' is the only song I didn't enjoy at all. Friktion's debut is nicely produced and packaged and if you want to check them out then have a look at their website at or An album that has something for everyone to enjoy.

FRONTIERS: "A Tribute To Journey" 5

Indie 2004
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
11 March 2004

My oh my... I guess you shouldn't really record tribute albums to the ultimate AOR band in the first place. And especially not LIVE one's as everybody will notice by then how poorly some of your tribute band members actually play. It's a difficult situation where no-one will end up as winners... because, how can you match Steve Perry's voice (wimp master supreme) or Neal Schon's flashy guitar work? It's really a completely different issue if you'd record a live tribute to KISS, AC/DC, or Metallica for that matter, since "everybody" can copy those licks or sing those tunes, without too much talent. Just crank up your amp, then crank it up some more, and make some noise. Journey was all about perfection however and creating a clean, almost sterile sound, which came out like sophisticated crap... or whatever.

I'm all for tribute bands at the local bar though as everything do sound so much better after a beer or ten. It's also the perfect place for this kind of acts really. Vocalist Jeremey Hunsicker is without a doubt the best musician of the bunch along with the keyboardist. Hunsicker is normally frontperson for 'Elemental' and he actually do sound a lot like Perry. Not as powerful perhaps, but you can't get everything I suppose. They've chosen to cover some songs which Journey hardly ever play anymore (Good Morning Girl, When You Love A Woman, etc). Not to mention the rather fun version of Perry's solo hit "Oh Sherrie". I don't believe there is any overdubs or re-recording in the studio afterwards on this CD. The mixing is very raw and does mostly sound like an average, bootleg. This could however still be fun for the mad Journey collector and their likes. Why not surf to their official website below, and you could most definitly support them by joining their next liveshow.

FRONTLINE: "Heroes" 8

Signo 1997
Review by Kimmo Toivonen

The first Frontline album "State Of Rock" was a mixture of euro-metal and AOR elements with a hint of Dream Theater-like prog touches. On "Heroes" the band has abandoned their euro-metal roots and moved towards AOR, and they have done it well! The most outstanding songs are the very moody "Someone To Love" and "Get To You", which both boast big choruses and more hooks than you could ask for! The band has even created one of the most convincing Journey-imitations ever with "On The Run". That song sounds so much like the more uptempo numbers on "Raised On Radio" it's unreal!

FRONTLINE: "Against The World" 8

AOR Heaven 2002

Review by 25 June 2002

I've always had a soft spot for the German band Frontline in the past. I know that some may find this to be the worst kind of cheesy, Melodic Hard Rock (AOR), to be found out there. Sure, I admit it gets a bit 'cheesy' from time to time. And it's not like we haven't heard this kind of music before.

Nah, this is straight from the 80's with lederhosen, poodle perms, hairspray and spandex to the max. Then again... the music is very catchy with tons of keyboards and melodies, which you simply can't ignore in the end. "Against The World" happens to be their 4th album since the debut 'State Of Rock' in the early 90's. Not as 'fresh' or remotely different than before, but the hooks are still there and you can find yourself 'headbanging' along with almost all the tracks in the end.

How to describe this band if you never been in touch with them before? Well, take the delicious guitarwork of George Lynch (Dokken) in the 80's. Mix it with the keyboards and some melodies of Journey, throw it all together in the blender with a touch of Bonfire and you're pretty much done. One thing's for sure, Frontline have never been accused of being original sounding. Then again, does it really matter as long as the songs works? Ok, tracks like "Time Stood Still" or "Change His Life" don't really work now do they? But man, do "My Destiny", "I Don't Know", "Don't Break My Heart", rock or what? Excellent stuff that AOR dreams are made of, even if some of them feel like I've been here before. Oh shut up will ya', if it's good it's good and "Man With A Broken Heart" is a darn fine ballad. At least they're not breaking the golden rule of written AOR material. "Keep It Simple, Keep It Catchy, And Keep It Comin"

FRONTLINE: "The Seventh Sign" 6

AOR Heaven 2004
Review by Kimmo Toivonen,
17 May 2004

Frontline have been around for fifteen years or so, and they have released good albums one after another. Naturally the expectations were high when I found a copy of their latest album in the mailbox the other day. And...while this is not a bad album, it's less that we've learned to expect from Frontline. If this was a new band, I'd say "they have a lot of potential", but since I know what this band is capable of, this can only be described as a bit of a disappointment.

Productionwise this album is very good. The band seems to have toughened up their sound a bit, and the closest compararison I can come up is the classic Valentine debut. The guitarplaying by Robby Boebel is very tasteful and stylish, and Stephan Kaemmemer's vocals are as good as ever. The one ingredient that isn't on the normal level seems to be the songwriting, especially when it comes to the choruses. Frontline have written some truly magical songs in the past, but none of the songs on this album can match their finest moments.

Apart from the brilliant "This Lie", virtually all of the songs seem to suffer from the same thing: dull choruses. Most of them build up nicely towards the "peak", but then we're subjected to very average and repetitive hooklines. Just listen to "Take Me Higher", "Where's The Love" or "Melt My Ice" for example, good songs ruined by hooks that just aren't too catchy. Especially "Melt My Ice" could have been so much more, with Boebel showcasing his cool axemanship and adding nice textures to it, but the song just never really takes off.

Conclusion: a disappointing effort from one of the finest bands of the genre. I really wanted to like this and expected that I would, but that wasn't the case this time.

FROST: "Raise Your Fist To Metal" 7

Noise/Sanctuary 2003
Review by 7 November 2003

Seven Witches guitarist Jack Frost (ex-Savatage, Metalium, Speed etc.) has recorded a various sounding solo album, with everything from aggressive thrash metal to wimpy AOR. The foundation is made upon classic metal though, something which I'm sure you can tell be the approperiate "Raise Your Fist To Metal" title.

Frost has also managed to come up with an impressive guestlist which include lead vocalists such as: Harry Hess (Harem Scarem), Joe Comeau (Annihilator, Overkill), and Rob Rock (Warrior, Impellitteri, Axel Rudi Pell). Other musicians involved are: Mike Duda (WASP), Gonzo Sandoval (Armored Saint, Life After Death), Joey Vera (Seven Witches, Armored Saint, Fates Warning), Johnny Dee (Britny Fox, Waysted, Doro), Mike LePond (Symphony X), Billy Childs (Britny Fox) etc.

Harem Scarem fans will barely recognize the vocals of Hess as opener "Stay", is hardly something you'll hear from this man usually. He practically spits like a rabid dog with its tail on fire and the result can only be described as shocking!!! When the worst shock is finally over, you can't help to headbang along to the Annihilator meets Seven Witches music though. The chorus is however rather annoying in the long run with its constant repeat of "Staaaaaaaay", throughout the whole freakin' song. The following three tracks "The Chase", "Brotherhood Of Lies", and "What's Left", simply kills as I find them to be 'old school metal' at its best. It's Judas Priest, Annihilator, Seven Witches, and Fates Warning, into one great, melting, pot of metal. "The Man I Am" is on the other hand the worst excuse of an power ballad that I've witnessed this year (so far). Unbelievably corny and truly out of place somehow. The biggest suprise is however the smashing cover of "Fight Fire With Fire", which they've managed to turn into their own creation, even if it stays pretty close to the original. I'm sure you're all thinking about Metallica and "Ride The Lightning" (1984) here, but it's actually a cover of the KANSAS song, taken from the "slightly" mellower "Drastic Measures" album, back in 1983. Add to this a nice cover of RATT's old "Lack Of Communication" (Out Of The Cellar), and you're in for a rather nice time after all. Bottomline, most of the tracks are similar to Seven Witches and it would have been fun if Frost went all the way instead. Why do people record solo albums, when they end up sounding like their full-time act anyhow? How about a Kansas meets Ratt album next time?... then again... better not [:-)].

FROZEN TEARS: "Voodoo" 6

Indie 2000

Review by Urban “Wally” Wallstrom 01-03-16

FROZEN TEARS is another pretty good Melodic Hardrock band from GERMANY that plays typical German rock a-la AXXIS mixed with influences from DOKKEN, HEAVEN´S EDGE & a touch of PROGRESSIVE Rock. In fact... it does sound a lot like AXXIS and vocalist "J.TEARS" sometimes sounds a lot like BERNHARD WEISS (AXXIS vocalist.)

The other members are: CRAZY PECK (guitars), CHARLIE (bass), MICHAEL MYERS (keys) & DOM (drums) Eehhh... don´t think it´s their christian names tho :-) but they all know how to play their instruments and I guess that´s the most important thing.

"WOLF AMONG SHEEP" begins with a cool keyboard intro by Myers. This song is the most progressive track on this EP and it reminds me of another German band BLUE THUNDER the chorus is nice but nothing special. "REACH FOR THE SKY" is a great 80´s Metal song with some good guitarwork by Peck and a catchy chorus. The song sounds like a mixture of AXXIS & DOKKEN. I tell ya´ J.Tears is a deadringer for WEISS (Axxis) on this song. "FALL" is a superb piano ballad a-la BONFIRE & yes... take a wild guess... AXXIS (again) I really like this song... it gets ya in the heart and the keys by MYERS are superb. Last track "VOODOO AIN´T ENOUGH" is pretty boring with a lousy chorus, but this is still a very interesting mini-album that fans of... ehh... AXXIS & melodic hardrock from Germany will enjoy for sure. Find out more about them at and listen to some MP3´s.

FULL CIRCLE: "Full Circle" 6

Indie 2000

Review by 01-04-15

FULL CIRCLE is a band from DENVER/Colorado that plays Melodic PROG Metal a-la QUEENSRYCHE & SACRED WARRIOR. They were formed in the Summer of 1997 and have quickly become a well known live act in Denver. The lineup of Tommy Krell (vocals), Brad Watson(guitars), Skot (bass) & Craig Cottrell (drums) have done a solid self produced and financed CD with a couple of really good "power ballads" but also with one or two more "brutal" tracks.

Opener "Change" is a nice song with verses that sound a lot like the mighty Queensryche in their "Empire" days. Guitarist Brad Watson seems to be heavily influenced by Chris DeGarmo. The chorus is a bit weaker than the verse and that´s never a good sign. "All I need" is a great semi-ballad with a catchy chorus, but this song sounds more like TUFF, WARRANT or even POISON, great stuff tho. "Walk away" is back to the PROG stuff again, it´s a uptempo rocker that fans of Queensryche, Sacred Warrior will enjoy for sure. I must say that I really like WATSON´s guitar work. "Tomorrow" is another good acoustic ballad with the typical late 80´s "hair-band" sound. "Steal away the night" has got a really cool guitar riff that reminds me of the verses on "Don't stand so close to me" that THE POLICE did, but this is more metal of course :-)

And let´s not forget "In the cold" with a lovely intro a-la QUEENSRYCHE and both the guitar sound and the vocals by Tommy Krell is Pure Prog-Metal a-la late 80´s. Hey... even the snare drum sounds cool. Get in contact with the band at: and check them out at

FUORI USO: "Wake Up"

Indie 2001

Review by 31 October 2001

After many years of review writing one automatically gets biased. When hearing about another independent Italian glam rock band you have the mental picture of awfully looking, shorthaired musicians with sunglasses and jelly in their hair, hideous leather clothes, "faceless" music and a vocalist with bad accent and no training. Is it what we get from Fuori Uso? Well, unfortunately I have to say they perfectly fit the stereotype.

The info material they sent (with awfully lot of grammatical mistakes) says they are inspired by 80s glam rock bands like Motley Crue, Hanoi Rocks, W.A.S.P., Poison. Huh! W.A.S.P. listed as a glam band?! The music is at least as uncertain as this list. There are four tracks on the CD, three of them - at best - are sleazy hard rock and one ("Death Penalty") is a kinda aggressive metal ala Pantera light or something. "Wake Up" opens the album with a nice riff but as soon as Holly, the vocalist starts singing all my hopes are gone. The guy simply cannot sing, he's just roaring without any real harmonies. The rest of the band is tight, they don't do anything spectacular just deliver the usual simple sleazy rock riffs well. "My Way" is a mid-tempo hard rock tune with promising songwriting but no vocal melodies again. Musically this track could be the right direction for the band. "To A Friend" is the standard sleaze rock ballad; with good-enough vocals it could remind me of the early L.A. Guns ballads; but not in its current form. The above mentioned "Death Penality" closes the album leaves me wondering why these guys call their music "glam".

Glam is associated - in my book - with happiness, partying, ease of playing, and an easygoing attitude altogether. Fuori Uso is pretty far from this. They still have a long way to go, time is on their side as they are quite young, but they definitely need to take singing lessons in order to be able to come up with lead and backing vocals to match the international standards. Check them out at

FURY: "Fury" 8

Escape Records 2002

Review by 10 August 2002

Furry is a bunch of hairy hardrockers from the 80's who... hang on a minute... ooops, there you go. 'Fury' is a bunch of hairy hardrockers from the 80's who recentely were signed to Escape Music in UK. Their self titled debut album contians an impressive list of guest appearances by musicians such as Jim Vallance (Bryan Adams, Aerosmith, Ozzy Osbourne), Paul Dean (Loverboy), Paul Laine, Chrissy Steele (Headpins), George Criston (Kick Axe, Paradise) etc. Even the late and great Brian 'Too Loud' MacLeod (Headpins) was involved in the early stages of this project.

The lineup of Chris Comely (vocals), Brett Anthony (guitars), Buffy Rude (guitars), David Valentine (bass) & Bobby Mac (drums) may not be well known names in the biz. However, they sure know how to please a crowd with their package of solid'n'simple rock'n'roll. If fun guitar oriented rock with massive drumming and power chords is your kind of music, then watch out for the fury of these Canadian rockers.

All that glitters ain't gold though and some of the songs are just too silly (childish?), for my taste. This won't stop tracks like opener "I Don't Take No For An Answer" (killer stuff a-la TNT with a chorus a-la White Sister), "Fire" or "10.000 Girls" from being fun, easy goin', party anthems. The latter is very similar to the stuff Autograph used to write in the 80's, the Loud'N'Clear era (1987). You will also find some rock in the style of early Dokken, TNT, and even Coney Hatch here. Vocalist Comely has this strong voice that possesses an incredible range, without being annoying or Mickey Mouse sounding. "Higher Ground" is the song featured on the Millennium Collection 2 sampler, and its blessed with some groovy verses and a chatchy chorus in the style of (early) Harem Scarem, Honeymoon Suite. You like slow songs? No need to worry as both "Shouldn't I Be (Lying In Your Arms)" and "Eternal Flame" (no, not the Bangles hit) are nice indeed. Eternal Flame is simply marvelous with acoustic guitars and a killer performance by Comely. Don't forget to check out the hidden bonus track "Eat Your Heart Out" right after Eternal Fire. This CD was originally recorded in 1993 and was never released due to the Grunge scene. Not until now that is... I could swear that one of the band members had a dead poodle on his head though? :-)